New York Jets: Sam Darnold returns to practice at Florham Park

After Wednesday’s practice, Sam Darnold appears to be inching toward partaking in the New York Jets’ home tilt against Miami.

Sam Darnold returned to New York Jets practice on Wednesday as the team continues to prepare for their Sunday afternoon matchup against the Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, CBS). According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Darnold took all of the first-team reps under center, relegating Joe Flacco to scout-team duties.

Prior to practice, head coach Adam Gase said that Darnold was a “day-to-day” case, per notes provided by the Jets. Gase added that the plan going into practice would allow Darnold to “eliminate any kind of unnecessary throwing”.

“We’re going in there thinking that he’s going to be able to do quite a bit,” Gase said. “Sometimes during these special teams periods and things like that, a lot of throws are made in those periods. We’ll really limit those. Most of his throws will come either in individual or team periods.”

Darnold is attempting to come back from a shoulder injury originally sustained in an October 1 loss to Denver. He returned two weeks later for a divisional tilt against Buffalo but aggravated the ailment in the next game in Kansas City. Joe Flacco has assumed quarterback duties in the meantime and has overseen the Jets’ best offensive outputs of the year, including a season-best 322 yard in their Week 9 loss to New England leading into their open date. The offensive resurgence has coincided with the first instances of Denzel Mims, Breshad Perriman, and Jamison Crowder collaboratively taking the field. That trio topped the Jets’ receiving depth chart at the beginning of the year, but injuries prevented them from playing together in the early going.

Flacco has tallied 864 yards, six touchdowns, and an 80.5 passer rating over five games in subbing for Darnold. He confirmed that he took exclusively scout-team snaps on Wednesday and praised Darnold’s progress.

“He was running around out there, throwing the ball well, his arm was live, I mean that’s really most of what you can gather out there today,” Flacco said, per the Jets. “But you know, I thought his arm looked, the ball looked like it was spinning and coming at guys, so I thought he looked really good.”

Darnold spoke earlier this week and echoed Gase’s ideas of viewing things from a day-by-day lens. He also expressed anticipation in working with the revamped receiving corps if and when he returns. The quarterback has had minimal work with Mims, for example, after the first was chosen out of Baylor in the second round of April’s draft.

“Those guys are doing a really good job and are making plays for us,” Darnold said of the trio, per the Jets. “Regardless of their situation and how well they are playing, I just want to be out there, regardless of that. I’m always going to be eager to want to go out there and play football.”

Only adding to the idea of Darnold starting on Sunday is the fact that the Jets (0-10) released quarterback Mike White earlier this week and readded him to their practice squad. The former Dallas Cowboys draft pick served as Flacco’s backup over the past two games.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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